John Joseph Montgomery (February 15, 1858 – October 31, 1911) was an American inventor, physicist, engineer, known for his invention of controlled heavier-than-air flying machines.
Between the years 1884 and 1886, Montgomery, a native of Yuba City, California, made the first manned, controlled, flights in a heavier-than-air flying machine in the United States, using a series of gliders in Otay Mesa near San Diego, California. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Joseph_Montgomery
Montgomery’s name was unfamiliar to me and yet interesting because clearly he was a pioneer of aviation in the United States. He was killed in 1911 when his glider “The Evergreen” crashed on October 31st. There was even a movie made about him, called Gallant Journey, (1946, Directed by Wiliam A. Wellman) starring Glenn Ford as Montgomery.
And how is this connected in any way with what I was doing on a cold Sunday afternoon? I was looking at the history of the Convair B-32 “Dominator” – the lost, superfluous bomber of the second world war, of which little or nothing survives.
A few years ago in 2008 an artist erected a memorial to Montgomery in California in the shape of a wing – it has a very high aspect ratio as you can see from the picture. The Wikipedia article writer says it’s a glider wing. Other articles claim that it is in fact the outer wing section of a B-32. If so, it’s probably the largest piece of B-32 extant worldwide.